170. Driving Stick

So my car refused to start today.

I had woken up to the chilly morning air, very reluctantly dragged myself out of bed to wash up and get dressed for work, and it just had to be my car that refused to work.

I had half a mind to refuse to work myself.

But Dad was home, and he would be terribly disappointed in me if I skipped work like I skipped class. So instead, I asked if he could send me to work. He looked up from where he sat, and said:

“Why don’t you take the Viva instead?”

Ironically, the Perodua Viva (that’s the car’s brand and name) promotes anything but that which its name implies. Especially the one that I was told to drive. It’s a pathetically small car, only a little bigger than a Smart Car, and the worst part is that it’s on manual transmission. In other words, stick. In other words, the bane of my existence.

Luckily, my driving education demanded that I learn to drive stick, and it was only after I got my driver’s license that I received the privilege of going auto. With only a little more than an hour to drive out, get breakfast, and get to work, I took the keys to the Viva and went straight out.

(strangely, all my driving accidents seem to happen only when I drive auto. I famously accumulated a total of 3 collisions within the first week of getting my driver’s license: with my neighbour’s car, with a car parked by the side of the road, and with one of those industrial-grade bins in which they throw broken pieces of concrete)

Driving stick is a unique experience. It gets you up close and personal with your car. When you press the clutch and shift into gear, you can feel the pulse of the engine running up your arm, and in that instant, it’s like you’re one with the vehicle. You know, kind of like getting an electric shock. Just without the jolt and the potentially heart stopping voltage.

I had a friend who drives stick all the time, and he told me that it helps to keep him awake on the road. I cannot agree more. The sheer terror of having the car suddenly stalling on the road is enough to keep my adrenaline levels up the whole trip. I mean, forget bungee jumping. You want to feel alive? Try driving a manual car. It’s just as exciting, with the chance of your vehicle getting rammed by another, possibly bigger, vehicle at high speed.

I’m glad to say, however, that I have made it to work safely without any collisions or stalling incidences. I even managed to have a proper breakfast before arriving at the office and punching in 3 seconds before the clock hit 8.30A.M. I now look forward to a full day of, well, doing whatever I want, because there apparently isn’t any work for me to do.

Then at 5P.M., the adventure begins again!


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